Friday, May 1, 2020

Astrology Highlights for May 2020

Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu by Edward Munch (1919)

"Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality,” trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. 
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. 
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."

­‑Arundhati Roy, “The pandemic is a portal,” The Financial Times, April 3, 2020

The Big Picture in May

In the quote from her April 3 article, the incomparable Arundhati Roy captures so vividly our current state of affairs on planet earth. Her writing often brings me to tears, and her entire essay is a must-read, as are her other works.

It bears repeating that in 2020 we have new astrological cycles that signal major societal changes. On January 12, Pluto and Saturn conjoined, ushering in a new 36-year cycle. The symbolism of these planets suggest that our structures will undergo significant transformations. Exactly what type of metamorphosis will occur will depend upon our will. Regardless of how humans decide to shape the transformation, this year represents a break from the past and a new period of being. 

For the United States natal chart (if one uses the Sibley chart), the conjunction of Pluto and Saturn occurred in the second house of resources and values. Hence, this is a time to reexamine what values are important to the American people and how it will use its resources. As always, there will not be a consensus on this topic. However, what voices will predominate in the debate?

Another significant cycle begins anew this year involving Jupiter and Saturn, but it will not be realized until the end of the year, on December 21. This is when these two social planets meet in the sign of Aquarius. The first ingress of Saturn in Aquarius occurred in March but it stations to go retrograde on May 10 and will not begin direct motion until the end of September. During this period, Saturn will be retracing early degree Aquarius and late degree Capricorn territory. Likewise, Jupiter in Capricorn will station and begin its retrograde cycle on May 14. Jupiter will begin moving forward again on September 13. Capricorn often symbolizes a cautious but productive energy that might rely more on tradition and old structures than progressive alternatives. Yet, the approaching Aquarian energy on the horizon could signal the start of an era where there is more concern with the interests of the wider collective and in science.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” might apply to the month of May. At the beginning of the month, we still have the Sun, Mercury, and Uranus in Taurus, a sign that is slow to change. Taurus will approach change in a methodical and patient way. Moreover, in May we have four planets that will be in retrograde motion, causing us to feel an intensification of energy and the sense that we must review what has occurred as planets retrace old territory in the zodiac. This concept of “re-experiencing a phenomenon” is exemplified in the Covid-19 pandemic.  Countries that removed restrictions on shelter-in-place orders soon experienced a spike in cases. This could be a pattern that we will observe for this pandemic. 

Yet, we sense that many changes are afoot in the celestial weather. For one thing, the lunar nodes transition into new signs, with the North Node moving into restless Gemini on May 4 (and the South Node shifting into wandering Sagittarius). Additionally, when communicative Mercury enters its home sign of Gemini on May 11, we feel the urge to be on the move and to express ourselves. Meanwhile, out of bounds Venus remains in Gemini as she stations and begins her retrograde cycle on May 12. Like Venus, Mercury will be going out of bounds (i.e. going beyond the declination degrees of the Sun) on May 15. When planets are out of bounds, they are unpredictable. Since both these planets are in quixotic Gemini, there might be a lot of capricious activity, particularly after the Sun enters that sign on May 20. People are prone to changing their minds and their plans this month during the last two weeks of the month. However, Mercury’s has a short stay in Gemini, and it enters Cancer on May 28. 

The pandemic has heightened our sense of not knowing what is around the corner. The nervious air sign energy and the maverick nature of Venus and Mercury in out-of-bounds territory is reflective of what we are experiencing right now. Consequently, we need to make sure we get some safe activity in our lives and increase our communication with one another, in protective fashion. 

Mars, the planet in astrology that represents actively pursuing one’s desires, starts May in the detached, intellectual sign of Aquarius. (By the way, this genius Aquarian energy inspired the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab to come up with the design of new medical ventilators that use far fewer parts than the ones currently in in-patient settings). However, on May 12, Mars pulls inward as it begins its transit in watery Pisces, the sign of malleable boundaries and transcending earthly reality. This is not a natural place for Mars, a planet that thrives on physicality and “doing.” On the other hand, this could be the time when Martian urges are best channeled in relief efforts or spiritual endeavors. It might serve us well to engage in other types of Piscean activities as well, such as art, poetry, films, and meditation so that we don’t feel lost, but use this energy creatively.  Compassion might prevail at this time but it will not be long before we see rebellions and sharp rhetoric become more salient. I will say more about that in June!

Significant Days in May

Below you will find a table of astrological events for this month. You can assess the quality of significant days by noting when planets form exact aspects and where all this activity takes place in your natal chart. 

Here is a basic key for understanding the meaning of the aspects

The Conjunction: This aspect represents the merging and fusion of energies by two (or more planets) that have joined at a particular degree (or within a specified orb). This combined energy is very potent. When this occurs, we might feel subjective about a matter in our lives.
The Sextile (60°): Planets in this formation are harmonious and lend themselves to cooperation. Astrologer Sue Tompkins says there is a quality of “coaxing” in sextiles. In other words, if we put in a little effort at these times, we can take advantage of opportunities in a situation.
The Quintile (72°): Planets in this aspect represent the type of harmony inherent in creative endeavors. It might often describe the impulse to fuse an idea into a tangible substance. Quintiles often describe the talents possessed by individuals.
The Square (90°): Planets that line up in this aspect reflect incompatible energies with contrasting needs. Consequently, we can describe this planetary relationship as tense and strained. Because these energies can be working at cross-purposes, the situation at hand may require us to make choices. The “silver lining” is that squares compel us to take action and this often results in dispelling tension. If we are conscious of the dilemma, we can use the excess energy in a matter so that we can achieve something useful.
The Trine (120°): There is an ease in the relationship between planets involved with this aspect because they are of the same element. At this time, we can perform activities with a flowing energy. We enjoy these activities, and they often reflect our innate talents. Because this energy is so comfortable, it often does not promote growth. Yet, these aspects reflect how we can be healed.
The Quincunx (150°): Planets forming this relationship appear to have nothing in common. These planets display energies that are out of step with one another. There can be an element of irritation and stress because of this, but it is not a confrontative type of energy. If we are conscious of this reality, we can make adjustments to the relationship such that we do not feel so out of sync.
The Opposition (180°): This relationship between planets brings to our awareness how something is different from our preferred position. We could be in conflict with others about a matter. Also, we might shift our preference from one point of view to its opposite. Yet, we can also find common ground in this relationship. This aspect has the potential for us to integrate our perspectives.

Date of Exact Aspect
Pacific Time

Astrological Events
May 1-31

Venus remains out of bounds all month
May 1
12:23 PM
Venus (19° Gemini 26′) quintile Chiron (7° Aries 26′)
May 3
  8:52 PM
Venus (20° Gemini 18′) square Neptune (20° Pisces 18′)
May 4
10:48 PM
North Node enters Gemini/South Node enters Sagittarius
May 4
  2:41 PM
Sun (14° Taurus 52′) conjunction Mercury (14° Taurus 52′)
May 5
  7:34 PM
Mars (25° Aquarius 9′) quintile Uranus (7°Taurus 9′)
May 7
  3:45 AM
Full Moon in Scorpio (17°20′)
May 7
  3:42 AM:
Mercury (20° Taurus 23′) sextile Neptune (20° Pisces 23′)
May 9
  6:17 AM
Mercury (24° Taurus 57′) trine Pluto (24° Capricorn 57′)
May 10
  9:09 PM
Saturn begins retrograde (Rx) cycle (1° Aqu 57')
May 10
  7:36 AM
Mercury (27° Taurus 13′) trine Jupiter (27° Capricorn 13′)
May 10
  9:16 PM
Sun (20° Taurus 28′) sextile Neptune (20° Pisces 28′)
May 11
  2:58 PM
Mercury enters Gemini
May 11
12:33 AM
Mercury (28° Taurus 44′) square Mars (28° Aquarius 44′)
May 12
  9:17 PM
Mars enters Pisces
May 12
11:45 PM
Venus begins retrograde (Rx) cycle (1° Gem 50')
May 12
10:22 AM
Mars (29° Aquarius 42′) trine North Node (29° Gemini 42′)
May 12
  1:14 PM
Mercury (1° Gemini 57′) trine Saturn (1° Aquarius 57′)
May 12
  7:36 PM
Mercury (2° Gemini 30′) quintile  Neptune (20° Pisces 30′)
May 14
11:49 PM
Sun (24° Taurus 54′) trine Pluto (24° Capricorn 54′)
May 14
7:32 AM
Jupiter begins retrograde (Rx) cycle (27° Cap 14′)
May 15
10:20 PM
Mercury in Gemini goes out of bounds
May 15
  1:22 PM
Mercury (8° Gemini 07′) sextile Chiron (8° Aries 07′)



May 17
10:40 AM
Sun (27° Taurus 13′) trine Jupiter (27° Capricorn 13′)
May 20
 6:49 AM
Sun enters Gemini
May 20
 4:02 PM
Venus (20° Gemini 40′) square Neptune (20° Pisces 40′)
May 21
 2:11 PM
Venus (20° Gemini 21′) quintile  Chiron (18° Aries 21′)
May 22
 1:41 AM
Mercury (20° Gemini 12′) conjunction Venus (20° Gemini 12′)
May 22
 4:24 AM
Mercury (20° Gemini 23′) quintile  Chiron (8° Aries 23′)
May 22
 5:02 AM
Sun (1° Gemini 51′) trine Saturn (1° Aquarius 51′)
May 22

May 22
 8:43 AM

 9:39 AM
Mercury (20° Gemini 42′) square Neptune (20° Pisces 42′)
New Moon in Gemini (2°Gem5′)
May 23
 2:17 AM
Sun (2° Gemini 42′) quintile  Neptune (20° Pisces 42′)
May 24
 9:26 PM
Mercury (24° Gemini 47′) quincunx  Pluto (24° Capricorn 47′)
May 24
11:48 PM
Mars (8 Pisces 13) sextile Uranus (8 Taurus 13)
May 26
  8:35 AM
Mercury (27° Gemini 01′) quincunx Jupiter (27° Capricorn 01′)
May 27
  9:36 PM
Mercury (29° Gemini 13′) conjunction North Node (29° Gemini 13′)
May 28
11:09 AM
Mercury enters Cancer
May 29
  6:57 AM
Sun (8° Gemini 39′) sextile Chiron (8° Aries 39′)
May 29
  5:25 PM
Mercury (1° Cancer 40′) quincunx Saturn (1° Aquarius 40′)

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